Turkish Memorial and Museum

トルコ軍艦遭難記念碑 / Ertuğrul Anıtı ve Müzesi

The Kushimoto Turkish Memorial and Museum is a monument and a museum to commemorate the sailors of the Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul, which sunk in 1890 off Kushimoto.

Ertuğrul was an 1863-built sailing frigate of the Ottoman Navy. She left Kostantiniyye on July 14, 1889 with around 600 sailors and officers on board for an official visit to Japan. She completed her visit on September 16, 1890 after a three-month stay, and set sail from Yokohama for return. Around midnight on September 18, the vessel hit reefs and fell apart in stormy weather. She sank off Kii Ōshima while only six officers and sixty-three sailors survived, most of them with injuries. The survivors were transported home aboard two Japanese corvettes in October 1890, who were received by the sultan Abdülhamid II in January 1891.

In February 1891, 150 bodies recovered from the wreckage were buried in a newly established cemetery. On September 15, 1891, the first anniversary of the disaster, a monument was erected 400 m (1,300 ft) far from the site of the accident, near the Kashinozaki Lighthouse of Kushimoto.

A second memorial stone was erected by the Japanese-Turkish Trade Association on April 5, 1929 and visited by Emperor Hirohito on June 3 the same year. After this information reached Turkey, its government proposed a new monument. The construction started on October 22, 1936, and the opening ceremony took place on June 3, 1937 with attendance by the Turkish ambassador.

A museum was established near the memorial in cooperation with the Kushimoto Municipality and the Turkish Embassy in Japan. It was opened on December 14, 1974.

In the museum, objects initially recovered from the wreckage by the fishermen, belongings and photographs of the ship’s officers and the seamen as well as a ship model of the frigate are on display. Later, a corner was added to the museum devoted to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Also items sent from Kushimoto’s twin cities in Turkey, Mersin and Yakakent, are exhibited in the museum.

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